And the key to a magnificent risotto lies in two major factors. One is the broth that is used to cook the rice, and secondly, it is the technique in cooking the risotto just right.
To begin, you have to make the prawn stock. For this, use at least 6 to 8 prawns of any size. Peel off the heads and the shell and put them in a pot. Keep the peeled prawns separately.
Melt about 4 tablespoons of butter into the prawn heads and shells over medium heat until it is turned into a orange sauce. You can literally smell the amazing aroma from the combination of prawns and butter.
Add in a teaspoon of the Lee Kum Kee tomato garlic paste to enhance the flavours and once it is well stirred into the mixture, add enough water to make a stock for the risotto later. Leave it to gently simmer for at least 30 minutes. Best if you can slow boil for an hour.
The stock will turn into a rich, scarlet colour. Add some salt to season the broth and keep it warm when you about to cook the risotto.
Now, we can start to cook the risotto proper. It will take about 20 minutes from start to end and this is the toughest part of this recipe.
Toast the desired amount of risotto rice in a pan for a minute or two to smoke the rice gently. Then add in 2 tablespoons of butter to flavour the rice and give it a creamy texture as the butter melts.
Next, use a ladle to add in about 2 to 3 ladles of the warm prawn stock. The reason you keep the stock hot is you do not want to cool down the rice as you add the stock and you want to keep the rice grains hot as you add in the stock.
When there is sufficient stock, there is very little necessity to stir. Just swirl it around to ensure that the rice are not stuck to the pan and that is all. As the stock gets absorbed into the risotto, you will need to periodically add more ladles of stock to keep cooking the risotto rice.
Keep repeating this process for about 15 or so minutes and you will see the rice grains start to puff up. As this happens, the rice will begin to cook and get soften. It will also have a very creamy texture to it. As it reaches this stage, test a few grains to see if it is cooked to an al dente texture.
Once it is so, add in as much grated parmesan cheese as you desire and stir well into the rice mixture. Season with black pepper and stir well again.
For the prawns themselves, marinate/season them with pepper and add another teaspoon of the tomato paste. In a pan, lightly sauté the prawns with olive for a minute or two. Ensure that the prawns are not overcooked but are just lightly sautéed, as the residual heat will eventually cook the prawns to completion.
Now, for the plating. Add another ladle or two of the stock just a minute before you remove the risotto from the fire so that you can have an added layer of the creamy sauce to the risotto.
Plate the risotto rice onto a plate and press the rice grains down as you plate to give it a nice presentation. Add the cooked prawns on top and garnish it with some spring onions or any greens of your choice to give it an added colour.
Finish off with some freshly ground pepper or peppercorns to give it the final touch of seasoning.
And there you have it. A beautifully tasting prawn risotto with a well infused crustacean flavour and freshly cooked prawns to go along.